MARAN: The annual Panguni Uthiram festival at the prominent Sri Marathandavar Aalayam temple in Sungai Jerik near here, next month, has been cancelled due to the Covid-19 outbreak.
District police chief Deputy Superintendent Norzamri Abd Rahman said a meeting was held with the temple committee on Wednesday to inform them to cancel the festival scheduled to take place between April 6 and 7.
The 129-year old temple which is surrounded by an oil palm plantation attracts some 450,000 Hindu devotees including tourists annually for its ‘Panguni Uthiram’ festival, which is also dubbed as a mini-Thaipusam and which is usually held between March and April every year.
The festival which marks Panguni Uthiram - the last month of the Tamil calendar, will also see devotees walking 204km from Batu Caves, Selangor to attend the two-day festival at the octagon-shaped temple.
Meanwhile, temple president G. Ramakrishnan said there were no other alternative options as the event would attract hundreds of thousands of devotees while the authorities only now allow 10 people to be present inside the temple premises.
"This is a religious festival and we cannot postpone it to another date. The priest will conduct the pooja (prayer) as scheduled during the prayers but no crowd is allowed," he said.
It is learnt that the temple management is scheduled to meet Pahang Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Wan Rosdy Wan Ismail in Kuantan later today on the matter.